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Rays send rookie Odorizzi back to minors

KEEP IT DOWN: Roberto Hernandez, tonight’s starter who is coming off consecutive poor starts, has allowed 10 homers in 482/3 innings.

CHRIS ZUPPA | Times

KEEP IT DOWN: Roberto Hernandez, tonight’s starter who is coming off consecutive poor starts, has allowed 10 homers in 482/3 innings.

ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Jake Odorizzi was optioned to Triple-A Durham Tuesday night, and it was not — at least completely — due to his performance on the mound.

But Odorizzi didn't help his cause by lasting four innings in Monday's start. And with RHP Jeremy Hellickson going 51/3 innings Tuesday, the Rays sent Odorizzi down to make room for a fresh arm for the worn-out bullpen.

The Rays will announce that move today, with LHP Alex Torres, who was optioned exactly 10 days ago following an impressive stint, a possibility. They could then call up a starter later in the week to take Odorizzi's slot Saturday in Cleveland, with RHP Chris Archer an option.

The bullpen has thrown 81/3 innings the past two games, with RHP Joel Peralta appearing in his fourth straight, and AL-leading 28th, matching a season-high 24 pitches.

"We have to make sure that we're covered in the bullpen so nobody gets hurt and we can disperse the work properly," manager Joe Maddon said. "There's been a lot of craziness among the bullpen, so we need to square that up."

Odorizzi (0-0, 9.00) made two starts in place of injured ace LHP David Price. He was eager to get another shot after struggling Monday, charged with six runs after being given a 6-0 lead.

"I'm disappointed," Odorizzi said. "Even if I had got the win (Monday), it wouldn't really have mattered. It wasn't a reflection of outings or anything. They just needed somebody, and I was the lucky guy."

STEPPING UP: As bad as RHP Roberto Hernandez has been in his past two starts, there's nowhere to go but up in tonight's outing in Miami.

But Maddon said the key for Hernandez turning it around is keeping the ball down.

Hernandez, a veteran sinkerballer, has allowed 10 runs on 14 hits in a combined six innings in his past two starts. He has given up 10 homers in 482/3 innings, more than twice his career mark. Maddon said they've given Hernandez some strategic suggestions about using his "better pitches at the right time," referring to his slider and changeup. But, no matter what, Maddon is looking for low strikes, and high spirits.

"We've just got to get him back on task," Maddon said.

JOSH SALE SAGA: The Rays say they'll have an announcement today regarding minor-league OF Josh Sale, the 17th overall pick in 2010 whose troubles continued Tuesday when a post allegedly from his Facebook account boasting about throwing change at a stripper made its way to deadspin.com and the website for the New York Daily News.

Sale, 21, is at Class A Charlotte after being recently reinstated from a 50-game drug suspension for testing positive for methamphetamines and an amphetamine. According to Deadspin, Sale wrote on Facebook, "Threw 50 cents at a stripper tonight. First time. Got kicked out and she got so (mad) thought she was gonna cry. Your a stripper. Be thankful."

Sale did not return a phone or text message.

PRICE CHECK: Price (left triceps strain) played catch for the second straight day, making 35 throws from 60-75 feet. Pitching coach Jim Hickey “said he threw really well," Maddon said. Price, who didn't travel to Miami, will be off today and resume throwing Thursday. He's still expected to be out until mid to late June.

MISCELLANY: Top OF prospect Wil Myers homered twice for Triple-A Durham, including a tying two-run shot in the ninth inning. He has three in two games and five in his past six. … The Rays wives raised over $1,000 for Autism Speaks plus an additional $1,500 from the Rays Baseball Foundation during their charity softball game with the Marlins wives Monday.

Rays send rookie Odorizzi back to minors 05/28/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 12:31am]
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